Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nationals, The Cure For Any Slump...Countdown 48

I really do feel bad for the Nationals. When they first moved to DC I worried they would take away from the Orioles already struggling fan base. But instead, I think they might have done the opposite. They are so bad, they make the Orioles look good by comparison, and therefore have solidified some of the borderline fans. No one really wants to switch from a losing franchise to an even worse one. Maybe a few people, but overall, I really doubt there presence has hurt the Orioles much, and the Nats have managed to become the punchline of the league. Like I said, I do feel bad for them.

But when they play the Orioles, I can't help but be a little happy. I don't need to see the O's clobber them like they did last night 11-1. But I do like the O's to get every win they can. And playing the Nats is possibly the most perfect remedy to three game sweep by the Marlins before a series against Boston. At least I can be in good spirits this weekend before a week of Boston and the Angels. It seems this season that when the Orioles can get on a roll, they can win 5 or 6 out of seven games before they begin to slump again. So hopefully, they'll be able to steal a few from the Red Sox.

The Orioles were on fire last night with pretty much everyone being productive and scoring a season tying high of 8 runs in one inning. Melvin Mora seemed inspired by his move down to 7th in the batting order and was able to contribute 4 RBIs to the effort. And while Bergesen struggled, he was still able to get out of innings only allowing one run over 6 innings. Yes, I'm a huge fan of this rookie and I would greatly appreciate someone updating his Wikipedia page. Right now it only says he pitches for the Orioles and he went to high school in California. So will someone please get on that. Also, if anyone knows if he's single, please pass that on to me.

If the Orioles could find some consistency this season, it'd be great. So far their streaky play vacillated between great and gut wrenching. I'd just like to see some consistently good baseball. Yes, they are bound to have good days and bad days. But do they all have to come in row?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

O's Are Clutch, Sweep Phils...Countdown 49

Yes, the Phillies have been slumping at home and were without some of their key players, including Ryan Howard with the flu, but wins are wins. With the Orioles having such a dismal road record this season, I'm still happy when the O's can win anything on the road. A sweep of team away from home is music to my ears. And even a slumping Phillies team is still dangerous, they are still the defending World Champions, and they have the hitters to make any young pitching staff tremble.

But the Orioles manage to pull off the three game sweep by coming up with clutch hits late in the games and not allowing Philly to run away with any lead. The O's are now on a 5 game winning streak and playing some good baseball right now. The man of the moment has to be Robert Andino. In the 20 minute of the game I was able to stay awake to watch, (I know I'm lame) he just made all the plays. It's going to be hard for Izturis to come back and just reclaim his spot. Andino is seizing his opportunity and making terrific plays and even hitting in clutch situations.

I feel like the team is enjoying the winning and is starting to remember how fun baseball can be. They are in much better spirits and its showing while they are playing. This team has been nothing but streaky this season and right now is no exception. But something has changed. The Orioles are no longer winning based solely on their slugging. Now they are preventing teams from scoring runs and are winning close games. And that's something to look at with enthusiasm and hope it continues.

While a .500 season is still a long way off, 49 games to be exact, every little sign of hope is something to be happy about. And if for the first time in years, the O's could have a better record the second half of the season, it's possible. I'm not ready to count them out yet.

Photo: #49 Jason Berken

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Orioles Win Series, Wieters Finds His Bat...Countdown 52

After weeks of speculation as to what was happening with Matt Wieters bat, he finally did it, he hit his first home run and drove in his first couple RBIs. Now everyone can stop worrying and just let the kid play the game. He's been really good defensively and been calling good games. But now hopefully he'll be hitting home runs on a regular basis, hitting in the clutch and living up to all his hype. He came through tonight with a lead off double in the bottom of the 9th.

Hopefully the clubhouse has settled down and gotten back on track. After the error filled game a few nights ago, it's good the O's could pull one this series. Especially with a bottom of the 9th rally. It was a great way to end a series. I'm hoping they can keep this streak going over the weekend in Philadelphia.

It's good to see us winning and the countdown continuing. The O's are now a mere 52 wins away from a .500 season. So let's continue to cheer them on. Some of you may have noticed that I'm not updating this as often as usual. Part of that has to do with the rate the Orioles are winning games, but mostly it's because I'm studying for the Bar Exam and that takes a great amount of my time and energy. So sorry if I'm not keeping all you O's fan's updated as much as either of us would like. I hope all of you will bear with me through this next 6 weeks of studying and sparse updates. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

O's Stop Skid...Countdown 56

The Orioles managed to stop there there slide and get back on track last night despite the terrible weather and win 3-1 against Seattle. Though I'm going to have to say I'm not a fan of this instant replay thing. I know its supposed to make the game better. But so far I've only seen the O's get screwed by it. And yes, I don't care if its more fair, I want my team to win. There is no review for other crucial parts of the game, calls of safe or out or catches. I'm tired of out home runs being taken away. Why doesn't it happen to the team we're playing. We give up enough home runs, some of them should be called back.

It's terribly annoying to me when a person is called safe or out and they are clearly not. Why can't the umpire review those plays. Getting into balls and strikes would be a little tedious and would drag the game on far too long. But maybe the MLB could set up a system like the NFL. Each team gets 2 or 3 challenges a game. Set up guidelines for what can be challenged and then add that to the managers job. It just makes more sense. At least to me.

Luckily last night the O's were able to overcome their lost home run and still win the game. I would just like to point out that I love Brad Bergesen. He pitched a great game last night. I also think another rookie deserves a fair amount of attention and praise, Nolan Reimold. The kid is batting .385 in his last five games and .295 for the season. He also gives us a legitimate out field that does not involve Pie, yes he still makes some mistakes, he's a rookie. But if we are able to keep bringing up guys like him in our farm system the future looks bright for the franchise.

Right now the O's are struggling and the countdown to .500 is looking more and more like it not going to happen this year. But it's nice to see the team putting the pieces in place for next year and the future. We just have to wait for it to all come together.